Elijah clung to his father as he ran through the trees. He wondered if Drake were okay. He couldn’t believe his father had done that. Madison had brought Elijah just as his father had wanted. Why did he have to kill him? He began to struggle. He didn’t want to go with this man any longer. He thought his father had a sense of honor. He didn’t steal unless he could help it, and he always kept his word. He could feel his father’s muscle strain as he tried to keep a hold of Elijah’s squirming body. Finally, he stopped.
“What’s the matter with you, boy? We have to keep moving.”
“No.” The word came out in a harsh whisper.
His father knelt down. Expecting a slap to the side of his head, Elijah flinched a little, but his father just grabbed him by the arms.
“She didn’t come alone, boy. There’s someone else here. Can you hear?”
Elijah cocked his head. He could hear someone running through the trees to the side of them. Elijah tried to step away from his father, but his father’s hands tightened around his arms.
“What are you doing, boy?”
“I’m not going with you.” The sound of the person in the forest was moving away from them. The person was going to miss them in the dark. Elijah realized that he could scream and whoever that was would be back on track, but Elijah wouldn’t betray his father.
“You have to, boy. I’m the only one who can take care of you.”
“No.” Elijah looked back at the clearing. He could see a faint light through the trees, but he couldn’t see Madison or Drake any more.
“You mean him. That pansy? He’s not strong enough, boy. You know what we are. He won’t know how to handle you when you get older. I can keep you safe. I can keep you from becoming what I am.”
“I’m not like you. I’ll never be like you.”
They could hear someone crashing through the woods. They were circling back around. They would be here in a few minutes.
“You need to go. Now.” Elijah raised his voice a little. He pulled back with all his strength and his father finally let him go. Flailing his arms, Elijah sat down hard in the damp pine needles.
“Go, Father. Go now!” Elijah stood and pointed into the trees. The crashing through the brush grew louder, and Elijah knew his father would never let himself be taken alive. He’d rather die than live in a cage. His father ran toward him. Elijah’s heart sank as he realized his father wasn’t going to give him up, but his father didn’t stop to grab him. He kept running past Elijah and up the heavily forested slope. He was quiet. A lot quiet than whoever was scrambling around in the trees below him. When he heard a door slam and an engine start, he knew his father had gotten away. And, then, he screamed.